My name is Sloane Claire Etherington and I'm 20 years old. I've recently started university and I'm majoring in Music, I'd like to one day compose scores for movies. In one of my core, non-major-related classes, I meet a guy, Alfred "Alfie" Xavier Barclay, and he's 21 years old. Alfie lives in his own apartment only a few blocks away from our campus. He's majoring in Psychology and wants to be a clinical psychologist. The two of us hit it off almost immediately, and that weekend, we go on our first date - A picnic in a park on the campus' quad. It was lovely, Alfie set up the whole basket with the checkered table cloth, a bottle of sparking apple cider, a fruit salad, fun finger sandwiches and some more. It was really lovely. We date for the remainder of university, two years, then we move in together into Alfie's apartment.
It's been a year since I graduated university, and I'm now 23 years old and Alfie is 24 years old. We've now both got jobs in the fields we majored in. I'm working as an Assistant Film Scorer while Alfie works as a Youth Psychologist.
As we're beginning to get financially stable, Alfie and I begin talking about getting married. One evening, Alfie takes me back to where our first date was, on one knee, and he proposes. Excited and not expecting a proposal at all, I say yes, but smile and admit that I also have news to share with him--I'm pregnant!
We decide to quickly plan a small, intimate wedding, skipping a honeymoon afterward, with just close friends and family, so that we can get married before the baby comes along and chaos ensues. We ended up going with a light green and brown theme for the wedding.
Just a month after the wedding, Alfie and I welcome our beautiful baby girl - Alice Ethan Barclay into the world. She's darling and precious with ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes and Alfie and I could not be more in love with her if we tried.
Two years later, Alfie and I are enjoying our nice little family with Alice, who is now two years old, when I feel nauseous. Thinking it's just the flu, I don't decide to go to see a doctor until I start feeling extremely nauseous for more than a few days. At the doctor's office, they have you take a pregnancy test, and as I'd begun to suspect, I found out that I was pregnant with our second child.
Ironically, Alfie had had a doctor's appointment to check his blood pressure among other routine things, so when the two of us met up at the house we'd bought shortly after Alice was born that evening, we both had stories to share. I tell Alfie that I'm pregnant, and he's overjoyed. Even Alice starts clapping, sensing the excitement. Then Alfie gets a pained look on his face and tells me his own news: he has lung cancer from all the secondhand smoke he took in as a child, both of his parents smoked, but he never did.
I spend the next few days crying, but Alfie promises he'll fight with all his might. It's a rough few months with lots of doctor's appointments, I cry often and clutch Alice close to me. I leave angry voice mails to his parents and spend hours on the phone with my mother, sobbing. Talking about how I'm not sure what I'll do if I lose Alfie, he's my other half, the light of my life.
Just two weeks after Alice's third birthday, Alfie and I welcomed our second daughter, Emily Alfreda-Xena Barclay into the world and she is just as perfect as Alice was when she was born.
It's been three bumpy years. Alice is now six years old and in first grade, and Emily is now three years old. Alice is a super active little girl, she loves sports but her favorite one to play is soft ball while Emily loves to be read to and look through picture books non-stop, her favorite time is with her daddy, working on her reading skills by reading her favorite picture books to Alfie.
At this point, I try not to think about it, but Alfie's cancer is getting worse. It gets to the point where he has to stay in the hospital nearly full-time. Alice and Emily miss their daddy whenever they aren't visiting him there. One day, the doctor gives me a call and asks me to come in, recommending I bring the kids, because things are going downhill fast.
The goodbye is painful as the heart monitor machine slows to a stop. Alice, Emily and I are devastated, but I keep it together and refuse to slip into a depression for my girls, they just lost their father and I need to be strong for them.
Only a few days after Alfie's funeral, I start to feel sick again. It's like it was before Emily was born, but I'm wondering if the loss of Alfie is making me feel that way. I take a pregnancy test just to be safe, and, shockingly, it comes back positive. I'm filled with mixed emotions, because I love my kids dearly and Alfie and I had always wanted a big family together - talking about it often before he got sick, but the fact that Alfie wasn't going to be able to see our third child come into the world, be there for him or her...but I knew I wanted this baby more than anything, this last piece of Alfie.
When I go to the doctor and find out I'm expecting a little boy, I'm inconsolable and have to call my mother to come pick me up from the doctor. My son will never know his father and Alfie will never get to see his little boy. It's a struggle, but with strong and supportive family and seeing a therapist bi-weekly, I somehow start to get through it and be strong and even start to feel real joy and just in time for the birth of my little man, I decide to use Alfie's boy first name pick from when we were pregnant with Alice, Levi, for him and then for his middle name, Solace for the joy and comfort he brings into all of our lives after Alfie's loss, Levi Solace Barclay is born hearty and healthy.
It's been a year since Levi was born, which is nearly two years after Alfie's death. I'm certain that I might not ever fall in love again--and certainly not this soon--but fate seems to disagree when I literally run into a man at work, Peter Miles Hansen. We somehow get roped into a conversation about how crazy life is with kids and whatnot, and I find out that Peter's recently divorced with full custody of his son, Adam Tiberius Hansen - two years old. Peter is 30 years old and works as a Film Director.
Peter and I slowly become friends, both not certain we're prepared for a relationship, but our feelings for each other grow and eventually we introduce our children to each other and each other's kids and have a very close dating relationship.
We date for three years as our kids grow up together and become great friends. Adam and Levi are constantly whispering about becoming siblings, and Alice, Emily and Levi are constantly asking if Peter will be "a new daddy," though they have differing opinions. Alice thinks Peter is nice but feels like he is trying to replace their daddy, while Emily and Levi adore him most, as they don't remember Alfie as clearly. Adam loves me, since his mother was an alcoholic and never really cared much for him, and hasn't been around at all since the divorce to see him.
After those three years of dating, Peter pops the question over at my house with all of our kids around. Peter admits that, adorably, he'd asked Alice, Emily and Levi for permission to marry their mommy after clearing the idea with Adam. We move into a bigger house together and have a nice but simple wedding a year later, with our kids as the ring bearers and flower girls. Everyone is overjoyed. We feel as if our mixed family is complete when, only a few weeks after the wedding, we discover that I'm pregnant with Peter's child. Nine months later, I give birth to a beautifully healthy baby girl, that is very much loved by her older siblings, Phoebe Azalea Hansen.
The Barclay-Hansen Family
DW: Sloane Claire Barclay-Hansen (nee Etherington)  [Film Scorer]
DH: Peter Miles Hansen  [Film Director]
Dec. DH: Alfred "Alfie" Xavier Barclay [dec.] [Youth Psychologist] (Father of Alice, Emily & Levi)
DD1: Alice Ethan Barclay 
DD2: Emily Alfreda-Xena Barclay 
DSS1: Adam Tiberius Hansen 
DS1: Levi Solace Barclay 
DD3: Phoebe Azalea Hansen 
Sloane Barclay-Hansen (and dec. husband Alfie Barclay) and Peter Hansen; with Alice, Emily, Adam, Levi & Phoebe